EP Review: Broken Record – Allana Verde

Since the release of her 2016 EP, ‘Neo Nostalgia’, ALLANA VERDE has been on a steady rise, gaining support from the likes of Trevor Nelson, DJ Target, Complex and i-D. Continuing the climb, the London R&B singer unveiled her brand new EP entitled ‘Broken Records’ earlier this month.

An afterhours R&B (say, from the 90s era) receives a futuristic makeover from the bold and vibrant presence electropop overtones. Together with Verde’s quirky yet somewhat sultry vocals, this mini collection brings on a real enticing and spine-tingling experience.

Over the years, I’ve seen many artists break out in a cold, nervous sweat when it comes to combining unlikely genres – but this newcomer burst onto the scene and pulled it off effortlessly with such Sade-esque style and grace. This one too good to pass up; have a listen.

Must Listen: Broken Records, I Know Better Now.

 

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Album Review: No Stems – Dutch Rebelle

In preparation for her upcoming project, ‘BANG BANG’, DUTCH REBELLE kept her supporters titillated and dropped a collection of sample tracks, forming the 11-track offering, ‘No Stems’, earlier of this month.

Her heavy bassline trademark makes no apologies and runs riot throughout the entire set – but deeper, harder and twice more infectious than her previous releases. The seriously dope, head-rolling combination is topped of by the female emcee’s tighter-than-tight flow. Go further along this project and there a slight reggae fusion working its way through that dense drive in track, ‘Is This Love?’

This is an excellent run up to the next big project – better hit that play button!

Must Listens: Young OG, Stripper, Not Sleeping, Miss Me

Album Review: The Introduction – Zoe and Zara

Since appearing on NEW LEASE MUSIC with their single ‘Get Up Now’ last January, my mind would sometimes wonder on the whereabouts of twin sisters ZOE & ZARA. A few week ago, my curiosity was quashed when received an email from the duo.

After five years on London’s music scene, the pair decided to start a new chapter on their journey. So after much deliberation, long hours in the studio (which came with tears and near-breakdowns – their words, not mine!) ZOE & ZARA now present their debut album, ‘The Introduction.’

Recorded at The Blue Studio in Dalston (my hometown!), ‘The Introduction’  displays a delightful journey of Jazz (modern and from the golden era), old school soul and neo soul alternating between the down right funky and the ambient/easy listening.

The flood of tears and near breakdowns definitely paid off –  their neo-soul signature is more rich and refined (compared to their previous releases). The sisters’ venture into other genres by far didn’t disappoint. Their soothing vocals in fourth effort ‘Hey Sir’ were well suited to the golden jazz/big band/rat pack combo.

After reading the review, I think you guys know how I feel about this album. All there’s left say is – ZOE & ZARA, I salute you!

Check out the album and song recommendations below:

Must Listens: Weather Is Golden, Autumn Afternoon, Butterfly, Talk About It

EP Review: Missing Pieces – Sleeplust

Four-piece band SLEEPLUST put their new-found sound to the test through their latest EP, ‘Missing Pieces’, released last month.

Unlike their previous self-titled EP, which possess a carefree combo of electro pop/rock, ‘Missing Pieces’ boasts a rich downtempo (ish)/electronica drive, making it more of a hypnotic affair.

That deep electro-bass unapologetically takes the stage and goes all in with the introductory effort, ‘Flood Gates,’ before easing up in the following tracks, ‘Organized Mess’, ‘Lights’ and ‘Tiny Raindrops.’

The pot of gold is, by far, the concluding offering ‘Forever and Always’, where their infamous drive is stripped away, making way for an intimate acoustic setting that will helplessly draw in any listener; a great way to end an EP.

Gotta say their decision to shift towards an emotive sound is a massive plus and I reckon this little package will resonate with people who really appreciate good music. Have a listen for yourself.

Must Listens: Flood Gates, Tiny Raindrops, Forever and Always.

Mixtape Review: The Mixer – Coco Peri

I don’t know how this all-rounder slipped under my radar, but from now on, I’ll be keeping a very close eye on her. Just in case you’re baffled, I’m talking about COCO PERI. Maybe I’m giving the game away too early in this review, but her latest mixtape ‘The Mixer’ made me sit up and raise my eyebrows with approval.

The ten track production seamlessly weave between the atmospheric arrangements of R&B hip-hop/rap and dancehall, topped off with the occasional show of the tropical-esque overtones. This north Londoner had no trouble switching it up from her a rich jazzy vocal to a smooth flow that just melts into the dreamy soundscapes.

‘The Mixer’ serves as a great outro for the summer – and is well worth a place in your valuable record collection….hit the play button on this bad boy mixer!

Must Listens: Keeper, Muse, Futuristic, Ready Good Loving, Live Good

Mixtape Review: Return of the White Beard – Redd Emcee

Producer/rapper REDD EMCEE steals today’s limelight with his first mixtape in two years, ‘Return of the White Beard.

In this eight-track collection, the white-bearded emcee gives a comic insight into his life and also his views on the true meaning of hip-hop. The lineup of UK and US producers on the eight-track collection truly captured the London spitter’s signature sound – a  laid-back and, at times, sporadic hip-hop/boom bap-esque arrangements which is reminiscent of the late eighties/early nineties.

It’s definitely worth the trip to his Reverbnation profile; head right here to check out ‘The Return of the White Beard’.

Must Listens: The World’s Greatest, Termite And The Ant Dweller, The World Today (Part 3)

Album Review: Meesh – Tunnel Traffic

It’s been some time (I think roughly a year and a half) since Adam Hachey, the brainchild of TUNNEL TRAFFIC, appeared on NEW LEASE MUSIC with his 2015 album, ‘Absolute Dreams’. Out of nowhere, this alternative folk-rocker recently emailed his new album, ‘Meesh, in which he produced while making his big shift to the City of Brotherly Love.

Unlike his previous collection, which was an atmospherically intense affair, ‘Meesh’ gets right down to it with bursts of zesty guitar licks through the first few tracks, ‘Lesson Learned’, ‘Pockets’ and ‘Anew’.

The psychedelic ride passes and makes way for a softer journey of lo-fi/new wave(ish) arrangements and the rich influence of that  70s inspired soulful rock, before turning up the tempo through efforts, ‘Maxwell’ and ‘All Day, Err Day.’

The latter part of the album is what I personally think is classic TRAFFIC TUNNEL. With the return of the zesty guitar plucks, the almost stripped back pieces becomes intense and personal, where you can not only hear, but FEEL every word uttered.

‘Meesh’ sees Adam comes out of his comfort zone and go down the experimentation route, which is great – but personally, he’s at his best when he perform songs that hone right into the soul.

Must Listens: Familiar, Slope Day, Mitch, Memorial

EP Review: Highlands – Delafaye

After periods of recording from the bedroom of his Louisville apartment , Andrew Shockley -aka DELAFAYE – presents his latest EP ‘Highlands, released last month.

The acoustic guitar and drums takes lead in ‘Part I’ and ‘She Shook Me,’ giving off a sultry soulful rock sensation, where the alternative rocker’s vocals lures between the arrangements. Further along the EP, a sweet harmonica makes a brief presence through third effort, ‘Tripping and Rolling’, adding a feather light folkore feel.

‘Highlands’ EP routes back and concludes with that real gritty soulful/rock combo along with the alluring vocals from the beginning.

There are some potential favorites in this mini package – it was VERY hard to choose – so it’s over to you; have a listen to the EP and pick your favorites and say in the comment box.

Must Listens: Part I, Tripping and Rolling, Part II

Album Review: Primative Beats and Rhymes

Veteran producer REDDTUNE called upon a mammoth lineup, in a bid to keep golden hip-hop/boombap alive, through his latest album, ‘Primative Beats and Rhymes’.

The 11-track production kicks off on a smooth note, with elements of classical and rich sounds of retro soul met with feather-light boombap. Halfway through the album, the tempo does a full 180. Entering full on into the golden era of the eighties/nineties, the bassline becomes more prominently gusty in the latter tracks, giving them that added spice.

Have a listen to ‘Primative Beats and Rhymes’ at least a few times and you’ll discover some real gems shattered throughout the production…real hip-hop heads will get it straight off. Check it out here.

Must Listens: Last of the Classics, Act A Fool, My Waves, Hustler’s Theme, Primative Beats and Rhymes.

 

Mixtape Review: Foreva Fameos – Fameos

Continuing his combination of light atmospheric overtones and that heavy bassline from his previous mixtape, ‘Hall Of Fame’ – named Mixtape of the Week by NEW LEASE MUSIC late last year –  FAMEOS bounces back, dropping another collection, this time entitled ‘Foreva Fameos’.

His above combination takes on a deeper and gutsy vibe, with the upriser’s newfound “hey, hey” trademark, featured at the beginning of each track – providing the way for the mammoth build up.

There’s some real slick numbers in this neat package, so it’s definitely worth a trial.

Must Listens: Wait For It, Lottery, Rodeo Show, Apply Pressure.